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SHRILLOCK HOMES & THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS
.              (simpler version) - written by Tanis Harms
TOPIC:       finding the true meaning of Christmas
SCRIPTURE:   Matthew 1:18-23
Style:       comedy/spoof of Sherlock Holmes where
.            a man hires a detective to find the
.            stolen meaning of Christmas
Cast:        SHRILLOCK HOMES, MUMSON (assistant)
.            CHAUFFEUR, COOK, BUTLER (male)
.            Mr. Myspace (male), Mrs. Myspace (female)
.            Nana (or Pops), Child (1 – 4)
NOTE:        (you can determine how many children and
.             adapt the lines accordingly; and unless
.             specified roles-may either male or female)
Set & Props: magnifying glass, notebook, pen, toys,
.            Bible, bookshelf,
.            3 chairs (or rocking chair & sofa),
.            (Christmas tree is optional, make the set
.             as simple or as elaborate as desired)
NOTE:        SHRILLOCK has the most lines,
.             and can keep the script in his notes,
.             which he can refer to as often as needed,
.             and pretend to write notes, etc.

SCRIPT:

(There is a knock at the door.  BUTLER goes to answer.  
SHRILLOCK and MUMSON enter.)

SHRILL    Good evening, Shrillock Homes here,
.         at your service.  
.         And this is my trusty assistant, Mumson.

BUTLER    I shall tell Mr. Myspace
.         that you are here.

(NANA and Mr. MYSPACE enter just as BUTLER turns.)

BUTLER    Ah, Mr. Myspace, there you are.
.         Shrillock Homes is here.

(NANA sits down and begins to knit, ignoring everything
around her.  If it is POPS, he can read a newspaper.
BUTLER stands to the side at attention.)

MR. M     Come in Mr. Homes.

SHRILL    Call me Shrillock, please.                    2
.         And this is my trusty assistant, Mumson.
.         Now, what is this urgent matter that
.         you had to call me out over the holidays?

MR. M     That’s just it.  The MATTER IS about –
.         the holidays.

(SHRILLOCK and MUMSON look at each other
with squinty eyes.  SHRILLOCK turns back to MR. M.)

SHRILL    I don’t understand, sir.

MR. M     It is gone.  MISSING!  It has been STOLEN.

SHRILL    Well, MY holiday certainly has been stolen now
.         since you had us rush way over here,
.         just because YOU do not get any days off?

MR. M     No-no-no – someone has stolen –
.         (build up suspense)  the MEANING –
.         of the holidays.  Someone has stolen
.         the meaning of CHRISTMAS.

SHRILL    I see!  Yes-yes, I quite understand.
.         This IS a serious crime.
.         A very serious crime, indeed.

MR. M     So you can help?

SHRILL    Of course.  I am a DETECTIVE
.         We shall investigate at once.

MR. M     Just let me know if there’s anything you need.
.         If there’s anything I can do to help –

SHRILL    Yeeessss, let me see...  very strange,
.         very strange.

(SHRILL looks around “room” with the magnifying glass.)

MUMSON    For a Christmas celebration, it certainly
.         is quiet.  What do you make of it, Homes?

SHRILL    Ah!  Elementary, my dear Mumson.
.         The FAMILY has been stolen.
.         Not only is that a clue, but THAT,
.         (to MR. M)  my good kind sir,
.         solves the mystery behind the stolen meaning
.         of Christmas.
.                                                       3
MR. M     Ah, well, except I do have a family.

SHRILL    You do?  All here?  In this house?
.         You are a very fortunate man.
.         This certainly does change things.
.         Please, summon everyone to this room.

MR. M     Of course.  (to BUTLER)  Butler,
.         find the wife and children and
.         bring them all here at once please.

SHRILL    I need EVERYONE in this house –
.         to be in this room.

MR. M     In that case, also call in the cook
.         and chauffeur.

BUTLER    Right away, sir.

(BUTLER exits. As they wait, NANA looks up at SHRILLOCK.)

NANA      Who are these people?

MR. M     Shrillock Homes and Mumson, Nana.

NANA      Who?

MR. M     They are detectives, Nana.  They are here
.         to help us find the meaning of Christmas.

NANA      It’s Christmas?

MR. M     Yes, Nana.  (to SHRILL)  See what I mean?
.         It’s completely gone.

SHRILL    Do not fear, Mr. Myspace.  You have hired
.         the very best detectives – in the world.
.         We shall find it.  Not to worry.

(BUTLER leads MRS. MYSPACE, the KIDS, COOK and CHAUFFEUR
into the room.  MRS. MYSPACE goes to stand beside MR. M.  
The KIDS immediately sit down on the floor and play
with a few toys.  BUTLER, COOK and CHAUFFEUR stand
at attention off to the side.  SHRILLOCK walks up
and down, looking at each person with skepticism.)

SHRILL    A crime has been committed in this very house.
.         Someone has stolen the meaning of Christmas,
.         and it will be my job to FIND it.
.                                                       4
MRS.      Who is this STRANGE person, dear?

(SHRILLOCK winds up to yell out the name,
but MR. M puts up his hand to stop SHRILL.)

MR. M     This is Shrillock Homes.

(MUMSON feels left out.)

SHRILL    And my very trusty assistant Mumson.  Now!
.         We shall begin the investigation.
.         I shall ask that all of you remain in this room
.         until the mystery is solved.  The meaning of
.         Christmas has been stolen, and the answer lies
.         somewhere in this very room.  Someone HERE
.         is responsible.

MRS.      You suspect one of US?

SHRILL    Should I suspect – YOU?  (stares right at MRS.)

MRS.      (coolly)  Not at all.  

SHRILL    Do you HAVE the meaning of Christmas in your
.         possession - right now?

MRS.      Not right at this very moment.

SHRILL    So you admit that you took it,
.         and then - hid it?

MRS.      I have hidden nothing!  In fact,
.         for a long time now, I’ve been planning-

SHRILL    So you admit that you have the
.         meaning of Christmas.

MRS.      Of course.  

SHRILL    And you say - you have been planning this crime
.         for quite some time?

MR. M     Why?!  Why?!  Why would you take the meaning
.         of Christmas from us?

MRS.      No – yes – no -

SHRILL    Which is it, Mrs. Myspace?

MRS.      Well, what do you mean?  I have been          5
.         planning a party, not a crime.
.         And I was planning on – giving it BACK.
.         I’m throwing the party tonight, in fact.
.         So if you could speed this along -

SHRILL    Why?  So you can get away with the crime?

MRS.      No-no - I just want everything to
.         be perfect, and right on time.

SHRILL    And when does the meaning of Christmas come in?

MRS.      That’s it... it’s the party.

SHRILL    The meaning of Christmas is the party?

MRS.      Yes.

MR. M     Nooooo, that’s not it.  That’s not it at all.

(MRS. looks hurt.  MR. M tries to make her feel better.)

MR. M     Not that you don’t throw great parties, dear.
.         (to SHRILL)  She really does, you know, but –
.         (back to MRS.)  But you throw parties
.         ALL the time.

SHRILL    (to MRS.)  So you throw parties all year long,
.         how can the meaning of Christmas be “parties”?

MRS.      Well, the Christmas party has
.         a Christmas theme, with – Christmas food.

SHRILL    Food?  What kind of food?

MRS.      It’s the cook!  She’s responsible!

(SHRILL uses the magnifying glass to look more closely
at the BUTLER, COOK and CHAUFFEUR who all stand at
attention, scared to breathe.  SHRILL stops short,
looking at something on the COOK’S shoulder.)

SHRILL    Ah-ha!  A clue!  Some sort of food.

(SHRILL uses a finger, pretending to touch the stain and
taste it.)

SHRILL    Figgy pudding?

COOK      It’s – it’s gravy, sir, turkey gravy.         6

SHRILL    Then you must be the cook.

COOK      It is as you say, sir.

SHRILL    Did you steal the meaning of Christmas?

COOK      Not at all, sir.  I just follow directions
.         and mix the stuff to make the food.

SHRILL    And where do you find this - STUFF?

COOK      At the store.

SHRILL    Hmmmm, so, for these Christmas parties,
.         what sort of food items do you make?

COOK      Turkey, and gravy – from the turkey, and ah,
.         potatoes, yams, lots of baked goods...

(SHRILL refers to notebook.)

SHRILL    If you don’t mind me saying so, this
.         ALSO sounds a lot like – Thanksgiving.

COOK      I-it pretty much the same things.

SHRILL    Hm!  I see.  So it would be safe to say –
.         that you do NOT have the meaning of Christmas
.         in your possession.  Or in your – food.

COOK      Not at all, sir.  I don’t know if there is even
.         a recipe for that.  It’s just food, sir.

SHRILL    (to CHAUFFEUR)  And YOU.  What is it
.         that you do?

CHAUFF.   I am a chauffeur.  I drive.  I drive cars.
.         And I drive people around – in those cars.

SHRILL    What does Christmas mean to YOU?

CHAUFF.   I would say – going places.

SHRILL    What kind of places?

CHAUFF.   Interesting places... parks, concerts,
.         churches...

SHRILL    Churches?  Is that only for Christmas?        7

CHAUFF.   Ahhh, no.  I take people to church for lots
.         of other things...  all year round.  The park,
.         though, the park only has lights on the trees
.         during the Christmas season.

SHRILL    Perhaps you took the meaning of Christmas for
.         a drive – to the park – and just –
.         left it there.

CHAUFF.   No, I don’t think I have ever had the meaning
.         of Christmas in one of my cars.

(SHRILL moves on to the BUTLER.)

SHRILL    And YOU – besides answering the door,
.         what do you do?  Do you have anything
.         to do with Christmas?

BUTLER    I am the butler.  I keep everything clean,
.         as I do all year round.
.         I do help decorate though.

SHRILL    Would you then say, that YOU have
.         the meaning of Christmas in your possession?

BUTLER    Well, ah, the Christmas decorations are unique
.         from all the other decorations we put up during
.         the OTHER times of year.  So they have
.         a special meaning to Christmas.

SHRILL    Ah ha!

BUTLER    (defensively)  Mrs. Myspace loves the house
.         to be all decked out.  It always has
.         to sparkle, glitter and look festive.

(SHRILL uses the magnifying glass to look at
the Christmas tree / or some little decorations,
then turns to BUTLER.)

SHRILL    And it does, very nice job.  (serious again)
.         But is it all here?  Is anything missing
.         that is usually here for other Christmases?

(EVERYONE shakes their heads.)

BUTLER    Everything looks the same as it did
.         last year at this time.
.                                                       8
SHRILL    (sighs, moves on to KIDS)  Now, children –
.         what does Christmas mean to all of you?

KID 1     Toys.

KID 2     Candy.

KID 3     Singing songs.

KID 4     No school.

SHRILL    Do you enjoy these things other times
.         of the year?

KID 1     We get toys on our birthdays.

KID 2     We get candy at Easter.

KID 3     We sing songs at school.

KID 4     We don’t have school at Easter,
.         OR in the summer.

SHRILL    So!  Nothing unusual there, then.

(SHRILL stands up straight.  MR. M looks nervous.
As MR. M to frets and paces, MUMSOR turns to SHRILL.)

MUMSON    When we first got here, why didn’t we ask
.         Mr. Myspace what HE thought the meaning
.         of Christmas was so we could recognize it?

SHRILL    My dear, Mumson, brilliant, brilliant I say.
.         (steps up to MR. M)  Well, Mr. Myspace,
.         since you noticed that the meaning of Christmas
.         was missing, then you must have known
.         what it was in the first place.

MR. M     Ah, well, um, kind of, but not really?
.         From the past few years, I had begun to think
.         it was all just about spending lots of money.
.         I don’t know, it was just – different when
.         I was growing up.
.         (thinking, he goes over to NANA.)
.         Nana, when I was little, what was different
.         about our Christmases?

SHRILL    Yes, what does Christmas mean to you?

NANA      Traditions.                                   9

SHRILL    Traditions?  What KIND of traditions.

NANA      (thinking)  Well, we’d read from the Bible.

MR. M     Bible?  Do we have a Bible?

(MR. M looks around at everyone.  EVERYONE shrugs.  
SHRILL begins to look around with his magnifying glass
and searches the room.  MUMSON goes to the bookshelf and
finds the Bible.  He holds it up for everyone to see.)

SHRILL    Thank you, Mumson, brilliant again.

MUMSON    Elementary, dear Shrillock.

(MUMSON pretends to blow dust off it and coughs.)

BUTLER    I MAY have forgotten to clean that,
.         but I was NOT the one who put it there.

(MUMSON holds the Bible out for SHRILL to take.)

SHRILL    Now, what?  Did you read the entire book?

NANA      We would read...  I don’t quite remember now.
.         It was at the beginning of that NEW part.

(MUMSON decides to flip through the Bible and stops.)

MUMSON    Do you mean the New TESTAMENT?

NANA      Yes, that sounds about right.  I had forgotten.
.         It’s been so long.

MUMSON    (mumbling through Matthew 1:1-17)  “The...
.         generations of Jesus Christ, the son of David –

NANA      Oh, I remember, David was the king of Israel.

SHRILL    So this Jesus Christ was in line to be king?
.         Go on, Mumson, this is very intriguing.

MR. M     Yes, please go on Mumson.

MUMSON    Ahhh, “David, the son of Abraham”...
.         and it goes on to list all the fathers
.         and sons... lah, lah, lah, ahhh-

(MUMSON skits over a few names.                        10

MUMSON    (continuing to read)
.         “Achim had Eliud, who had Eleazar,
.         who had Matthan, who had Jacob-
.         (louder at verse 16) “And the SON of Jacob
.         was JOSEPH the husband of Mary, who gave
.         birth to Jesus, whose name is Christ.”
.         Ah, now here in the book of Matthew, chapter 1,
.         verses 18 to 23, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ
.         was in this way:  when his mother Mary
.         was going to be married to Joseph,
.         before they came together, the discovery
.         was made that she was with child by
.         the Holy Spirit.  And Joseph, her husband,
.         being an upright man, and not desiring to make
.         her a public example, had a mind to put
.         her away privately.  But when he was giving
.         thought to these things, an angel of the Lord
.         came to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph,
.         son of David, have no fear of taking Mary as
.         your wife; because that which is in her body
.         is of the Holy Spirit.  And she will give birth
.         to a Son;  and you will give Him the name
.         Jesus; for He will give His people salvation
.         from their sins.’  Now all this took place
.         so that the word of the Lord by the prophet
.         might come true, ‘See, the virgin will be
.         with child, and will give birth to a Son,
.         and they will give Him the name Immanuel,
.         that is, God with us.’”

SHRILL    As I suspected all along, the meaning
.         of Christmas was NOT stolen - it was misplaced.

MR. M     Amazing!  THERE is the meaning of Christmas!
.         A long, long time ago, just as God foretold
.         to mankind in the OLD Testament, He came
.         to SAVE us.  God came as a baby for a reason.
.         His birth has a GREAT meaning.  And Christmas
.         is meant to celebrate this...
.         It’s not just about a baby being born,
.         it’s the whole meaning BEHIND this birth.

MRS.      What a great theme for a party!

MR. M     A GREAT party, in honor of Jesus.

KID 1     Do we still get gifts?

MR. M     Giving gifts to each other is only           11
.         a tiny symbol.  By coming to earth to save us,
.         God gave us the greatest gift ever.
.         Nobody could ever STEAL that away from us.
.         And we certainly won’t misplace
.         the meaning of Christmas ever again!

SHRILL    Then our job here is done.

MR. M     Thank you, Shrillock Homes... and Mumson.

SHRILL    Thank YOU, Mr. Myspace.  By asking me here,
.         I was able to make this discovery – for myself.

COOK      Excuse me, I must get the turkey out
.         of the oven before it burns.

(MRS. M waves the COOK to go, then turns to SHRILL
and MUMSON, clapping her hands with a great idea.)

MRS.      Oh!  Why don’t you two join us
.         for Christmas supper?
.         We have more than enough to share.

SHRILL    That is most gracious of you, thank you.

MUMSON    Thank you, indeed.

MRS.      (to BUTLER and CHAUFFEUR)  All of you.
.         Come!  Everyone to the dining room.

(As all of them leave, the KIDS cheer, and MR. M
and SHRILL helps NANA up from the chair.)

NANA      When you just go through the motions,
.         traditions can lose all meaning.
.         But when there is TRUE MEANING behind them,
.         traditions are SO wonderful and moving.

MR. M     I quite agree, Nana, I quite agree.

SHRILL    Yes, indeed.